McAfee antivirus founder John McAfee is reportedly taking legal advice after a raid on his Belize home by police resulted in the software entrepreneur’s arrest and the death of his pet dog.
The raid in the early morning of 1 May by the country’s armed ‘Gang Suppression Unit’ (GSU) allegedly involved the doors to McAfee’s house being smashed down, his property ransacked, and his dog shot.
After searching the house for drugs and firearms and handcuffing him and his 12 employees, the police detained McAfee for a number of hours before releasing him at 2am the following morning.
The police haven’t given a reason for the raid but did reportedly find a cache of weapons including 12 gauge shotguns, handguns, rifles with scopes and ammunition. McAfee said he’d presented permits for all but one of the weapons which were for his company’s security.
“The entire day was an incredible nightmare. This is clearly a military dictatorship where people are allowed to go and harass citizens based on rumour alone and treat them as if they are guilty before any evidence whatsoever is obtained,” McAfee was reported as telling a local TV station after the raid.
McAfee blamed events on his refusal to donate money to “the local political boss.” No charges have been brought.
“I have a fair amount of money and not much to do. So I spend it where I think it will do go. And I don’t ever invest in politics. I don’t donate to any political party; I don’t have any political affiliations,” he said.
Although independently wealthy thanks to his past involvement with the company that still bears his name, the entrepreneur claimed to be being hit badly by the financial fallout from the credit crunch of 2008.
In 2009, his New Mexico ranch was put up for sale to the highest bidder, a period during which he was also reported to have sold properties in Colorado and Hawaii.
He was the subject of a contentious Fast Company article in which it was suggested that he might be exaggerating his financial losses in order to avoid the fallout from a civil suit connected to the death of his nephew in a flying accident. McAfee moved to Belize in 2008.
Still remarkably well preserved for his 66 years, McAfee remains better known for his exploits in helping to form the antivirus industry in late 1980s.
His company, McAfee Associates, was one of a small handful of companies that pioneered protection for PCs against viruses – McAfee is particularly associated with researching the infamous ‘Brain’ virus of 1986 – a quaint threat by today’s standards.
In 1997 the McAfee name disappeared as the company was renamed Network Associates after a merger with Network General. Subsequently relaunched under its original McAfee brand in 2004, the company was finally bought by Intel in 2010 for $7.68 billion.